KILL DEVIL HILLS — Getting the disabled community to work benefits everyone, according to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Mandy Cohen, the N.C. DHHS secretary, announced earlier this month to local and regional business owners in the Outer Banks the EveryBody Works NC, a program aimed at reducing the unemployment gap between working-age people with disabilities and those without.
“It’s a win-win for our disability community,” Cohen said. “It’s a place where they can be going, they can be proud, they can be working and show purpose in their life.”
According to the North Carolina Council on Development Disabilities (NCCDD), 40 percent of businesses can’t find talent to meet their workforce needs.
EveryBody Works will provide resources — including help with recruiting, the prescreening process, job training and job coaching — for potential employees with disabilities. The program will also provide modifications that the candidates need so they do not require an investment for the employer.
“There are a lot of businesses that are looking for good workers, looking for workers who are going to be long-time employees, that are going to be loyal, that are going to be able to do the jobs that are in front of them,” Cohen said.
According to the NCCDD, people with disabilities are rated equally or more productive than co-workers and achieve equal or better job performance ratings. One out of three employers reported people with disabilities stay in jobs longer.
EveryBody Works encouraged business leaders to hire people with disabilities, including people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, mental health and substance abuse.
“There’s an untapped labor market in our disability community,” Cohen said. “If you’re looking for good workers, we can help identify those folks.”
Businesses who hire people with disabilities are eligible for various tax credits.
The EveryBody Works campaign is led by the NCCDD, the North Carolina Business Leadership Network and North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation.